Star Springbok No 8 and Bulls captain Duane Vermeulen has capped a momentous 2020 by achieving the double after he was named Players’ Player of the Year at the Brightrock Players’ Choice Awards on Thursday.
This comes shortly after he was named SA Rugby Player of the Year, and he is the first person to secure both accolades in the same year twice after achieving the double in 2014.
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Vermeulen led the Bulls to two titles when they won the Super Rugby Unlocked series and followed it up with a first Currie Cup win for the men in blue since 2009.
The Bok star, who also won the Forward Player of the Year, received the prestigious Players’ Player of the Year award, which is voted by fellow players, ahead of fellow nominees Frans Steyn (Cheetahs), Cornal Hendricks (Bulls) and Curwin Bosch (Sharks).
The Lions walked away with three winners, with scrumhalf Morne van den Berg voted as the Best off the Bench, while centre Wandisile Simelane was named Backline Player of the Year and flank Vincent Tshituka received the Most Improved Player of the Year accolade.
The Sharks ensured they walked off with at least one winner when captain and star Bok centre Lukhanyo Am was crowned Defender of the Year.
Defender of the Year: Lukhanyo Am (Sharks)
Best off the Bench: Morné van den Berg (Lions)
Forward Player of the Year: Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)
Backline Player of the Year: Wandisile Simelane (Lions)
Lovechange award (most improved player): Vincent Tshituka (Lions)
Players’ Player of the Year: Vermeulen